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  1.  
    My GT Aggressor 1 is a little too big for me I feel, the hope disc brakes are sticking, the shimano deore xt gears I can't seem to adjust very well, and the front suspension can't be locked out.

    Can anyone recommend a good deal on a new or second hand hybrid bike? Suitable for tarmac, concrete, small bridle paths and the odd off road section?

    I hear good things of the specialized sirrus, but seems to be all sorts of model levels.

    I had an old Raleigh max with grip shift, v brakes and road tyres and that seemed fine. Not sure I need disc brakes and so forth....

    If I'm looking secondhand or new old stock what's a good deal?

    Budget minimal
    • CommentAuthorRobL
    • CommentTime7 days ago
     
    I have a specialized sirrus elite, from around 2007 ish, and it's not for sale...

    My advice would be:
    Make absolutely sure you get the right frame size - try here: http://thebikefactory.co.uk/specialized-size-guide/

    As you go for higher model variants, you tend to get higher spec parts fitted, but the same frame. That sounds great, but maintaining the bike will cost more, as you'll have bought into perhaps 3x10 gears, which really are not that much better than 3x8. The forks go carbon, and you get nice vibration dampening stuff going on.

    Mine is 3x10 speed, which adds to running costs, and I have a cheap 3x8 speed bike too (also not for sale).

    I'd go for V brakes every time, as they are easy to set up.

    For mixed use, you can get tyres with mixed tread patterns, like a "specialized crossroads". Notice the solid centre tread for on road, while having a nobbly outer for towpaths.

    I think there are plenty of good bikes out there. At the price you want to spend, you'll need to be sure it's good to go - gears & chain all good. If you get a 3x10 gearset, it's the thick end of £100 to replace when it's worn out.

    And watch out for dodgy stolen stuff on ebay.
  2.  
    I also have a specialized sirrus elite from 2006/7. Fantastic bike and I'd definitely recommend a second hand elite from around this time if you can find one.
  3.  
    I still love my Boardman Hybrid Team (~£500), which I often take down loose surfaced or woodland or dry grass bridlepaths or towpaths, but not sucky mud. I have used it on bike circuits.

    I think you perhaps need to decide whether you want suspension or not. I started off with a more mountain-bikey hybrid (Boardman Hybrid CX) with front lockable suspension and a hard tail on the same core frame, but I changed it within 7 days as it was obviously not suitable for my needs.

    Could a "cyclo-cross" bike be an appropriate compromise for you?

    I have 37mm tyres on my bike and a comfy saddle which does enough to make it smooth for me.

    One place I would recommend looking is on Ebay for people selling off Cycle To Work scheme bikes after a year as they either give up or upgrade having decided they like it.

    That might get you something a bit more upscale for your budget. Know your frame size, search for local options, and go and see them.

    Ferdinand
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTime7 days ago
     
    Oi! Petrolheading seens to be acceptable on GBF - but bikes! what are we coming to?
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTime7 days ago edited
     
    “Green” and “building”, broadly interpreted, ought both to come into most posts, I think. Neither pertroheading nor bikes are both but bikes are, at least, green.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTime7 days ago
     
    Yeah - me being ironic, or silly if you prefer
  4.  
    I've been stupid really, I guess it makes sense to give my existing bike a good service.

    Can anyone recommend a good guide? Might be worth putting a new chain on, new sprockets, bleed the brakes etc.

    Could teach my boy at the same time.

    Cheapest place for parts and DIY guides?
  5.  
    Many LAs offer free maintenance classes in a Saturday, or will know those who do locally.

    SInilar to ute way they offer free Bikeability classes.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTime6 days ago
     
    If you can't work out how to maintain a normal bike, should you ever be allowed to do DIY on a house?
  6.  
    I can work things out, but prefer being shown or reading up on things.

    I tried adjusting the gears recently, but no joy so it could be down to the chain or cassette etc etc.

    PS I've done engine swaps in old golf gti's, lpg conversions, car brakes, suspension etc etc. Just never had anyone to show me something as simple as basic bike maintenance or what parts I need.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTime6 days ago
     
    Posted By: VictorianecoI tried adjusting the gears recently, but no joy so it could be down to the chain or cassette etc etc
    I had exactly that too before giving up all that stuff. At least you knew you couldn't mess with a Sturmey Archer at all.
    • CommentAuthorRick_M
    • CommentTime6 days ago
     
    I can recommend http://www.sheldonbrown.com/
    and obviously loads of Youtube tutorials, have you tried those? A Haynes manual might be handy.
    • CommentAuthorPidgeon
    • CommentTime5 days ago
     
    Agreed Sheldon Brown's site is one of the best.

    If you're after a book I can recommend Zinn and the Art of ____ Bike Maintenance, insert "road" or "mountain" which ever is relevant.
  7.  
    So far I've put specialized nimbus tyres on it which have made a big difference.

    I've tightened a loose pedal which was causing the chain on the front to hit the deraileur. Simple things!

    I've also ordered a chain gauge as I've overlooked the importance of a good chain.

    Finally, I've read about the importance of correct gears. I have a 27 speed system, but only realised it's essentially only 9ish gears without crossing the chain too much.

    Just need to fix the sticking disc now!
  8.  
    >Finally, I've read about the importance of correct gears. I have a 27 speed system, but only realised it's essentially only 9ish gears without crossing the chain too much.

    (The late) Sheldon Brown has an excellent gear calculator on his site.
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gear-calc.html

    Are we going to talk about this? Enjoyable nerddom beckons :-D .

    If you have any questions, you may get a quicker and somewhat less exhaustively complete perambulation through all the adjacent subjects by visiting your Local Bike Shop rather than asking me/us.

    F
    • CommentAuthorSimon Still
    • CommentTime2 days ago edited
     
    Posted By: VictorianecoCan anyone recommend a good guide? Might be worth putting a new chain on, new sprockets, bleed the brakes etc.


    Mel Alwood - Mountain Bike Maintenance is good but over 10 years old now so certain things will be different on newer bikes. The MTB industry loves standards - adds new ones every year.

    Clean and degrease the bike so you can see what's broken or worn first. Buy a chain checker (cheap flat plate ones from eBay are just as good as anything but the £60 park tool one). If the chain is overworn then you will need to replace the cassette as well as a new chain will skip on a worn cassette.

    Chain Reaction is usually cheapest for replacement parts.

    Hope Disc brakes are easy to bleed and fully rebuildable *unless* they're really old. If they're sticking it's usually dry seals so cleaning them up, taking the pads out and pushing out the pistons, lubing round the edge with brake fluid, and pushing them back in (with something like a plastic tyre lever) often solves it. If they're old the seals might need replacing.

    http://www.hopetech.com/warranty-and-service/ You can buy the parts and do it yourself but it's a bit of a fiddle (and depending on the model needs some specific tools). Hope do a full refurb service where they replace all the seals, bleed, and install new pads - it's actually pretty good value.

    Alternatively, Hope brakes fetch good money on eBay in any condition. You can probably sell your brakes as they are now and raise enough to buy a new set of cheap Shimanos if you shop around. (eg https://www.merlincycles.com/shimano-m445-disc-brakes-91238.html)
  9.  
    I think I'll keep the existing brakes, can't see the pistons being hard to do. Didn't realise how cheap new brakes are though!!

    Chain gauge arrived today, chain plenty of life left.

    Best way to clean and degrease everything?
    • CommentAuthorRick_M
    • CommentTime17 hours ago
     
    Alternatively, you can use a ruler or calipers to check chain wear. Rag and brush eg nail or toothbrush to clean the chain and cogs, and I don't aim for perfection! I've never degreased with solvents or other cleaning products.
  10.  
    Best way to clean and degrease everything?

    Gunk. I bet the formulation has changed since my heyday, but it was (smelly and) excellent. Stipple it well in, leave it for a while and wash off. As the shampoo people say, 'rinse and repeat' if required. It used to cope with years-old and sometimes baked-on motorcycle gunge, so it should deal with pushbike gunge OK.
  11.  
    Posted By: Nick ParsonsBest way to clean and degrease everything? Gunk.


    Gunk, now that's a word I've not heard since the 70s. I'd forgotten all about Gunk but I used it all the time when rebuilding engines. Great stuff in those days, but like most things of that era eg. creosote etc probably completely different now.
  12.  
    Okay great, what about oiling the chain thereafter? I feel these are basic things I should have picked up as a youngster but soon grew out of my bikes before any maintenance was required.
    • CommentAuthorSimon Still
    • CommentTime5 hours ago edited
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: Victorianeco</cite>Okay great, what about oiling the chain thereafter?</blockquote>

    https://www.sheldonbrown.com/chains.html
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